Wall Street journal is confirming via a source involved in the HP board dealings that Mark Hurd settled the sexual harassment claim with Jodie Fisher on August 4th to block HP from investigating the sex claim.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “The settlement between Mr. Hurd and Jodie Fisher, a former marketing contractor for H-P, was reached on the evening of Aug. 4 without the board’s input or knowledge, this person said. It scuttled a mediation session set for the next day at which Ms. Fisher and her lawyer were to meet with H-P’s outside counsel and Mr. Hurd’s personal lawyer. The effect was to short-circuit the board’s investigation and increase mistrust among directors who already felt Mr. Hurd hadn’t been fully cooperating with the internal probe.”
I can confirm from an source on my side that the Wall Street Journal story is accurate. This confirms that “hush money” was paid by Mark Hurd to silence Jodie Fisher. More importantly it is the emergence of “material proof” that Hurd was covering the relationsihp with Fisher up and that HP was using the expense report and just an excuse to get rid of Hurd.
I wrote my opinion on the real reason Mark Hurd was dumped just this morning. As I mentioned in that post the HP board did the right thing. Hurd’s leadership was compromised.
The board’s job is to act in the best interests of the shareholders (employees and stockholders). The HP board did the right thing. They got rid of Hurd. The question of whether the board drum up any scandal and expense report violation is irrelevant. Those were mere facts that allowed the HP board to force Hurd to resign.
The premise of the entire thing was that Hurd didn’t want to exit quietly. If the HP board was cowardly then they would have done nothing and let Hurd continue to be the wrong guy for the job, continue being the wrong leader, continue with the mutiny that was a full on revolt, and let Hurd continue to take money out of the company like a drunken sailor.
The board stepped up with courage and forced him to resign. The cost $40m. A drop in the bucket for HP to only take a minor haircut in market cap as compared to the haircut they would have taken if they came out and “shitcanned” the guy.
The “Real” Real Reason’s Hurd Was Ousted
Here are some reasons emerging from my sources in Silicon Valley.
1) Hurd was hiding the relationship with Fisher and executed a settlement behind the boards back to avoid them finding out.
2) Hurd wanted to stay and thought he could “play” the HP board and they wouldn’t have the guts to challenge him.
3) Hurd figured that he had the power over the company because in his mind “he’d owned Wall Street”. Hurd called the HP Boards bluff.
4) He had zero support from the rank and file and top execs.
5) His bad judgement was visible to the entire company and out of control.
6) there are rumors that he had other “encounters” with at least two other woman other than Fisher. This is a developing story and SiliconANGLE is trying to confirm.
In the end Hurd’s time at HP was up and he didn’t want to leave. Hurd drew a line in the sand and called the board’s bluff that he thought he had more leverage then them. HP board stepped up and with “courage and guts” and played their card. Hurd lost his gambit with the board, took the severance, and then executed a full on PR effort to discredit the board. Hurd made $72m from his time at HP and another $40m+ in serverance then went on a smear campaign against HP.
The facts are starting to come out.